'Thank You! Love, McKissick' exhibit adds to historic collection

Emily Fast / The Daily Gamecock

Located at the end of the Horseshoe is McKissick Museum, the building known to most students as the Visitors' Center from campus tours. The museum has various collections that are relevant to Southern history, including, most recently, a donor-based exhibition, "Thank You! Love, McKissick."

The exhibit serves as a thank you note to the donors, "hence the name 'Thank You! Love, McKissick,'" said Mark Smith, curator for exhibition and collection management. 

"This is the second time we've done this type of show," Smith said.

The exhibit highlights some recent additions to the collections of art, silver, quilts, minerals, pottery, political memorabilia and University of South Carolina historical items. 

The pieces are all donated by individuals or transferred from other departments on campus, such as the College of Nursing, the athletics department or the two libraries on campus, Thomas Cooper and South Caroliniana.

Some of the donated pieces include political memorabilia, such as a Women's March pink cat hat and a Donald Trump Christmas card. There's also abstract art and sweetgrass baskets, which are handwoven baskets significant to African art history. 

The athletic memorabilia includes a 2017 women's basketball championship ring and a copy of "Total Excitement," a record produced during the 1960s which contains highlights from the football season. There is a six-minute segment from every game of the 1960 season, featuring Bob Fulton, who was "the voice of the Gamecocks" for over 40 years, Smith said. The history of the university section includes a Garnet and Black 1962 yearbook and a class photo from 1924.

Amanda Belue, McKissick Museum's communications manager, said without the donors and the relationship they share with McKissick Museum, the show would not be possible. She said building relationships over time is key to the success of the exhibits and the museum as a whole. 

"We have really good relationships with a lot of our donors; they understand our mission; they understand what we're looking for," Belue said. "They either keep a lookout of things they know specifically about — maybe gaps in our collection, or they know that years down the line that, 'I'm going to put this into a request because I want to make sure that [an item] goes to someplace safe.'"

Other objects come from within the university system and make their home in McKissick Museum. Some pieces are loaned back to their respective department or to other museums when they are not on display at McKissick. The official school mace is at the museum but can be loaned out for special events when needed. 

Though ending soon, "Thank You! Love, McKissick" will run again when new objects come into the museum. The current exhibit displays objects collected in the last three years, Smith said.

The exhibit is currently open on weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. until Dec. 7.


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